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The Garden Club of America and the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowships

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The Garden Club of America and the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowships

FOR RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATES IN HORTICULTURE, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, OR A RELATED FIELD

These international and prestigious Interchange Fellowships allow for an American student to study and work in the UK and a British student to study and work in the U.S. The fellowships last one year and are life changing experiences for the recipients who go on to be leaders in the field of horticulture. View the resources below to learn more about the fellowships and previous fellows.

As Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted in the US and the UK, we are accepting applications for 2022. Please monitor this website for further updates.

Purpose: To foster British-American relations through the interchange of scholars in horticulture, landscape architecture, and related areas and to promote the exchange of information in the horticulture field.

History: In 1948 Hillsborough Garden Club in California proposed the idea of fostering British American relations through an exchange of scholars in horticulture, landscape architecture, and related fields by supporting a British Exchange student for a year in America. In 1950 the English Speaking Union offered a reciprocal fellowship for an American student to study in Britain, and by 1952 The Garden Club of America voted to make the Interchange Fellowship a permanent scholarship project. 

As noted, the Interchange Fellowships are a reciprocal exchange program, sponsored by The Garden Club of America in the U.S., in coordination with Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, and the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK. More than 100 students have participated in the Interchange Fellowship Program, and many have gone on to hold prominent positions in public garden management, horticulture, education, and landscape architecture. The opportunities available to the fellows are unique in the horticulture field, and the network of past Fellows is a lasting legacy.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Interchange Fellow
(American Scholar to the UK) 

Provisions:

  • The Interchange Fellowship provides a 10 month course of study in the United Kingdom for the RHS Interchange Fellow from September - June. The chosen American fellow will work with the RHS program coordinator to set up an individualized program within the RHS’s numerous gardens, and possibly affiliated gardens, which will reflect the fellow’s interests, career goals, and aspirations. As it is a work-study program, an interest in “hands-on” garden work and basic gardening skills is important. The intention is to give the fellow as rich and as broad an experience as possible in a variety of settings, thus providing valuable exposure to British horticultural techniques, and developing important contacts within the RHS. Due to stringent visa requirements, the program must be fully planned prior to the arrival of the fellow in the UK. The fellow will begin at RHS Wisley, the flagship garden of the RHS, and could include, but not be limited to, other RHS gardens such as Harlow Carr, Rosemoor, Hyde Hall, and Bridgewater. Part of the experience will be involvement with the annual world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, held in London.

  • The GCA pays for the American fellow’s round trip ticket to the UK, fees for visa applications, UK health premiums, related travel expenses, and provides a supplementary stipend of $6000 USD for incidental living costs.

  • The RHS will reimburse up to £15,000 GB Pounds to the fellow to cover housing, food, and personal expenses during the 10 month experience.

Eligibility: The RHS Interchange Fellowship is open to a single, unaccompanied graduate of a university in the USA who is a U.S. citizen and has earned a BA or BS degree in horticulture, plant sciences, landscape architecture, or a related degree. Selected finalists are required to attend an interview in New York City and will be notified of the time and place.

Expectations:

  • The American Fellow arranges an individualized plan of study with The Royal Horticultural Society. Generally, the 10 months (September - June) are spent in various rotations at different gardens or horticultural centers. There will be involvement with the Chelsea Flower Show in London and ample opportunity to visit gardens throughout the United Kingdom.

  • Fellows are asked to write a short report in January, followed by a full report to the RHS Bursaries Committee at the end of the fellowship period, including photographs documenting the fellow’s experience.

  • Fellows will work with the GCA’s Scholarship Committee vice chairman of Media/Communications to provide updates on their placements, activities and travel within the UK which can be shared through social media.

  • Fellows agree to attend suitable conferences/talks/presentations/shows, and will visit as many cultural and horticultural places of interest as possible. Fellows may also meet with former Interchange Fellows for social/cultural outings, as far as reasonably practicable.

  • Upon their return to the U.S., fellows can expect invitations to speak at GCA member clubs and/or regional meetings across the country.

The GCA Interchange Fellow
(British Scholar to the U.S.)

Provisions:

  • The Interchange Fellowship provides a year-long work experience program (from September to August) in the United States for the British GCA Interchange Fellow. Studies in horticulture, landscape architecture, and environmental studies will be centered at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania with additional short placements in regional gardens. The program will be a highly-structured, stimulating, and exciting non-academic, practical program in ornamental horticulture. Due to visa requirements, the full program is created prior to arriving in the U.S. Fellows will experience different horticulture areas at Longwood such as the Conservatory, Outdoor Landscapes, and Natural Lands, and participate in Longwood Gardens special events.

  • Fellows will participate in weekly learning opportunities including trips to regional gardens, museums, nurseries, and horticultural enterprises; they will uncover American horticultural techniques and regional plant species; fellows will make valuable horticultural contacts.

  • Financial support for the program is shared among Longwood Gardens, The Garden Club of America, and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). The GCA pays $6000 USD for approved travel to other American gardens in addition to the Longwood Gardens experience.

    • Please see details of the Bursaries offered by the RHS on their website for further information.

    • Longwood Gardens, in cooperation with the GCA, provides wages, onsite housing, and health insurance for the fellow during the period of the fellowship.

Eligibility: The GCA Interchange Fellowship is open to British student horticulturists in possession of a recognized horticultural qualification. This includes those in possession of horticultural qualifications at Level 2 Diploma and above as well as university graduates and final year-students studying a horticulture-related degree. The fellow shall be a citizen of a member country of the United Kingdom. 

Expectations:

  • Fellows should expect to give talks and presentations about their fellowship experience and other topics of interest when practicable to GCA member clubs and/or regional meetings.

  • Fellows must also submit both a mid-term and final report to the RHS and the GCA as well as promote the fellowship through articles and talks when required.

  • They will meet and deliver a presentation to the RHS Bursaries Committee.  

All of the above expectations are for the purpose of enhancing the educational experience of the Interchange Fellowship and the cross-cultural components of the program. Read  “Feedback from the Fellows" here.

To Apply:

  • See American scholars to the UK: application and information. Applications must be received at GCA Headquarters in New York by January 15 preceding the year of study. Please note short listed applicants will be required to attend an interview in New York City.  Reimbursement of travel expenses up to $500 USD will be made to candidates invited to interview in New York City, upon submission of receipts.

  • See British scholars to the US: application and information. Closing date for application is January 14, 2022. Please note short listed applicants will be required to attend an interview on February 16, 2022. 

PLEASE NOTE: ONLY ONE GCA SCHOLARSHIP, FELLOWSHIP, OR AWARD MAY BE APPLIED FOR ANNUALLY. 

Selection: Selection and administration for American applicants/scholars is by the GCA Scholarship Committee in the United States and by The Royal Horticultural Society in London for British applicants/scholars.

Contact: The Garden Club of America, attn: Scholarship Applications, 14 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022-1006. Phone: 212-753-8287 / email: scholarshipapplications@gcamerica.org

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The Garden Club of America offers 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2021, over $300,000 were awarded to 61 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Twitter for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through the Garden Club of America scholars. Learn more about the GCA Scholarships. Browse the scholarship offerings.